WASHINGTON -- Complaining of 'leftist and often pro-communist' documentaries at the Public Broadcasting Service, a media watchdog group Wednesday urged Congress to investigate the network's programming.
Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog group, specifically accused PBS of broadcasting a Vietnam War documentary series sympathetic to communists and then refusing to air one of two critiques of the program produced by Accuracy in Media.
PBS, which receives a small fraction of its funding from the federal government 'is doing what the Voice of America has been prohibited from doing by Congress -- broadcasting propaganda to the American people,' the group said in a statement.
'The irony ... is the propaganda is not pro-American, but leftist and often blatantly pro-communist,' the group said. 'Congress should investigate the programming practices of the Public Broadcasting Service.'
PBS spokesman Stu Kantor denied the network's programming is politically slanted.
'There is no hidden agenda at PBS,' he said. 'We are not here to trumpet the views of one group to the detriment of another.'
Accuracy in Media said a 13-part PBS series, which aired from October through December 1983, titled 'Vietnam: A Television History,' amounted to a 'glorification of Ho Chi Minh and denigration of our fighting men in Vietnam.'
In response to the series, Accuracy in Media produced two one-hour documentaries analyzing the PBS program, one of which was aired on PBS in June 1985.
Accuracy in Media accused PBS executives of 'censoring an important program' by refusing to air the second critique.
But Kantor said, 'The fact that we aired the first program AIM offered to us has no relevance' to the decision not to broacast the second. 'We review each program individually.'
PBS broadcasts about 2,000 programs a year and rejects another 6,000, he said.
PBS Corp., based in Washington, receives less than 3 percent of its $71 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broacasting, Kantor said.
The lion's share of the PBS budget, 87 percent, comes from its 313 member stations, which get about 16 percent of their funding from the federal government, he said.